Order of Selection: Information, Updates, & FAQs

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation implemented an Order of Selection on November 1, 2017. Please review the information below to learn more about Order of Selection and how it may affect Washingtonians with disabilities who seek Division of Vocational Rehabilitation services to obtain, maintain, or advance in employment.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS AND FAMILIES ABOUT TRANSITION SERVICES

What is an Order of Selection?

  • Order of Selection is how the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation prioritizes services for people who need them most. It is required by federal law when the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation does not have sufficient resources to serve all eligible customers.
  • When customers are determined eligible, they are assigned to a priority of service category based on the significance of their disability. Assigning a priority of service category is based on the impact of the disability, not the type of disability.
  • During an Order of Selection, priority of service categories are either open or closed.
    • Eligible customers assigned to an open category can receive the full range of vocational rehabilitation services.
    • Eligible customers assigned to a closed category will be placed on a statewide waitlist for services. If the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation has additional resources to serve more customers, those who are waiting on the statewide waitlist may be released. A customer who has been released from the waitlist can receive the full range of vocational rehabilitation services.
  • If you are a customer with an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), you will continue to receive vocational rehabilitation services and you will not be assigned to a waitlist regardless of your priority of service category. Said differently, if you are a customer with an Individualized Plan for Employment, you will NOT be impacted by Order of Selection.

What are the priority of service categories and which are open or closed?

For all customers determined eligible after June 30, 2018, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation maintains five priority of service categories.

If you were made eligible for services before June 30, 2018, your priority of service category assignment remains the same. For example, if you were assigned to Priority of Service Category 2, and you were placed on a statewide waiting list for services, your place on that waiting list remains unchanged.

When a DVR applicant is determined eligible for services, their vocational rehabilitation counselor will assign a priority of service category based on how the customer’s disability affects them. A vocational rehabilitation counselor can re-evaluate a customer’s priority of service category assignment after evaluating functional limitations, if additional disability barriers to employment are identified following a review of supplementary information.

Priority of Service Category

Criteria

Current Status

1   Individuals with Most Significant Disabilities

An eligible customer is assigned to Priority Category 1 if:

  1. You require multiple VR services over an extended period of time; and
  2. You experience serious functional limitations in four or more areas.

OPEN

Priority Category 1 is open.

2   Individuals with Significant Disabilities experiencing serious functional limitations in three areas

An eligible customers is assigned to Priority Category 2 if:

  1. You require multiple VR services over an extended period of time; and
  2. You experience serious functional limitations in three areas.

CLOSED

Priority Category 2 customers are placed on a statewide waitlist for services.

3   Individuals with Significant Disabilities experiencing serious functional limitations in two areas

An eligible customers is assigned to Priority Category 3 if:

  1. You require multiple VR services over an extended period of time; and
  2. You experience serious functional limitations in two areas.

CLOSED

Priority Category 3 customers are placed on a statewide waitlist for services.

4  Individuals with Significant Disabilities experiencing serious functional limitations in one area

An eligible customers is assigned to Priority Category 4 if:

  1. You require multiple VR services over an extended period of time; and
  2. You experience serious functional limitations in one area.

Customers who receive Social Security benefits (SSI and/or SSDI) are automatically placed in at least Priority Category 4.

CLOSED

Priority Category 4 customers are placed on a statewide waitlist for services.

5   All Other Eligible Individuals with Disabilities

An eligible customers is assigned to Priority Category 5 if:

  1. You experience functional limitations in at least one area; and
  2. You do not meet the criteria for categories 1 or 2.

CLOSED

Priority Category 5 customers are placed on a statewide waitlist for services.

How does a vocational rehabilitation counselor assign a priority of service category?

A vocational rehabilitation counselor works side-by-side with a customer to explore and understand how the customer’s disability affects them. This may include reviewing medical or psychological records or participating in an assessment. Each customer is unique and each priority category assignment is individualized. However, the goal of this process is the same: to understand how a customer’s disability affects them across seven functional areas. If a customer’s disability impacts any of the seven functional areas it is considered a functional limitation in that area. Priority Category 1 customers experience serious disability-related functional limitations in four of the seven areas listed below.

  1. Mobility
  2. Communication
  3. Self-Care
  4. Cognition and learning (Self-Direction)
  5. Interpersonal
  6. Work Tolerance
  7. Work Skills

Who does DVR serve first?

  • As a vocational rehabilitation program, our core mission is to serve individuals with disabilities who need our services most. This includes individuals with the most significant disabilities and students with disabilities.
    • We serve eligible customers with the most significant disabilities first (Priority Category 1).

What happens if I am placed on the waitlist?

  • A waitlist is a result of a closed priority category. If you are assigned to a priority of service category that has been closed, you will be placed on the statewide waitlist.

    • If you are placed on the statewide waitlist, we will provide you with information and referral services. This will inform you about other federal or state programs that offer services to help you meet your employment needs.
    • The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation cannot provide other services, such as job placement assistance, to customers who are placed on the statewide waitlist.
  • If the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation has additional resources and can serve more customers, we will invite customers off of the waitlist to participate in services. This is known as a release.

    • If we are able to release eligible customers from the statewide waitlist, we may contact you about receiving services.
    • If you are released from the waitlist, you will be released based on your priority of service category and application date. If you have a higher priority category, you will be served before customers in a lower priority category. If you have an older application date, you will be served before customers with more recent application dates.

What can I do if I disagree with my priority category?

  • If you disagree with your priority category assignment, you are encouraged to contact your vocational rehabilitation counselor to discuss the reasons why you believe the assignment should be changed. You are also encouraged to provide information to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation as needed to accurately assign your priority category. Visit the Find a DVR Office webpage to contact your local Division of Vocational Rehabilitation office.

  • Customers have rights. Customer rights include the ability to contact the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and other ways to resolve disputes. Visit the Customer Rights webpage for more information.

Why does the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation have to implement an Order of Selection?

  • Federal law requires the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation implement an Order of Selection if we do not have enough resources to serve all eligible customers.

  • If you would like to learn more about why an Order of Selection is necessary in Washington, please visit our State Plan webpage. You can read our State Plan, review presentations and other resources, or get information to contact the State Plan team directly.

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS AND FAMILIES ABOUT TRANSITION SERVICES

Will the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation still provide pre-employment transition services?

  • Yes. We will continue to provide pre-employment transition services to students with disabilities.

  • Students with disabilities who have not applied for Division of Vocational Rehabilitation services (i.e. potentially eligible students) can continue to receive pre-employment transition services.

  • Students with disabilities who have an Individualized Plans for Employment can receive pre-employment transition services as part of their plan.

What should all students, parents, and educators know about Order of Selection?

There is very important information that every student, parent, and educator should know about pre-employment transition services and Order of Selection.

  • Students with disabilities who receive a pre-employment transition service before being determined eligible for Division of Vocational Rehabilitation services CAN continue to receive pre-employment transition services while they remain on the statewide waitlist.
  • Students with disabilities who do not receive a pre-employment transition service before being determined eligible for Division of Vocational Rehabilitation services CANNOT receive pre-employment transition services while they remain on the statewide waitlist.
  • If a student applies for Division of Vocational Rehabilitation services and is determined ineligible, they can no longer receive pre-employment transition services.

Can a student with a disability receive pre-employment transition services while on a waitlist?

If…

Then…

Impact

The student received a pre-employment transition service before being determined eligible for Division of Vocational Rehabilitation services

Yes

The student can continue to receive pre-employment transition services while on the waitlist.

The student did not receive pre-employment transition services before being determined eligible for Division of Vocational Rehabilitation services

No

The student cannot receive pre-employment transition services while on the waitlist.

 

What can students and families do to make informed decisions?

  • Participating in a pre-employment transition service BEFORE completing an application for Division of Vocational Rehabilitation services is the best choice for most students. This will ensure that a student can continue to receive pre-employment transition services, even if they are assigned to a closed category and placed on the statewide waitlist. Remember, students do not have to complete an application to receive pre-employment transition services. Simply complete an Information and Consent form and participate!

  • These steps may be helpful for students, families, and educators:

    1. FIRST STEP: Participate in a pre-employment transition service. Remember to complete the Information and Consent form. Do NOT complete an Application form.
    2. SECOND STEP: Reflect on the pre-employment experience. Determine what next steps or other services will help make the transition from school to work successful. This may include vocational rehabilitation services.
    3. THIRD STEP: If individualized vocational rehabilitation services can help, complete an Application form to apply for Division of Vocational Rehabilitation services. Continue to participate in the pre-employment transition services that help prepare for work and careers.
    4. Of course, students, families, and educators can contact a Division of Vocational Rehabilitation office to ask questions and learn more. Please visit our Find a DVR Office webpage to contact the office nearest you. You can also visit our School Transition webpage to learn more.